In partnering with the city of Chicago, Lollapalooza and its owners Perry Farrell, C3 Presents and William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, have created a model that works. In a time when music programs are facing extinction in schools, Farrell tells Billboard.biz the concept of the music industry working with government should be expanded to the music business at large.
"I think that government should work with the music industry on many levels, not only on the level of the parks and recreation, which is how Lollapalooza does it," Perry says. "We work with the city officials to beautify the parks in Chicago, and we've probably raised close to $10 million just for the parks. And ancillary income to the city on that weekend of Lollapalooza is over $30 million. So that city is getting a lot for allowing Lollapalooza to be there, and it's giving mental health to the patrons in giving them a place to let off steam and enjoy themselves."
(A rep for C3 told Billboard.biz that current funds raised for the Parkways Foundation in Chicago are approxmiately $8.2 million and are expected to be around $11 million by the end of 2011, and confirmed Farrell's estimate of "over $30 million" in ancillary income.)
Farrell would love to see partnering between the music business and government take place at the federal level. "I think that the government should help to regulate online music distribution and the music industry should give a little to the government for two reasons," he says. "For one, if the government gets involved and helps to regulate, there would be more money coming into the recording industry and that means more money for the musicians. And it's also a good idea because you could take some of that money and put it into music education. The government could take that money and use it for school systems, which don't have any idea how to get those music programs going again."
If such a program were to come about, Farrell says he would be first in line. "I'd like to raise my hand right now and say I'd like to be part of that committee," he says. "Let's try to organize something. It should be a case where the touring music industry, the recording music industry, distribution, all should sit down with government to figure out how we can get music to be really healthy again and recycle that money back into music, back into education, back into the city's parks and recreations where we have these great parties. I think it's a system that could absolutely work."